Entries in In Vitro (10)


Continued Infertility Treatments Drive Pregnancy Successes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LANSING, Mich.) -- Women in their 30s and 40s who undergo multiple infertility treatments may be nearly as likely to deliver a baby as women who conceive naturally, according to new research that provides men and women with a more realistic view of their chances of becoming parents.

Until now, the success of in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) was based on live births following a single course of treatment, called a cycle. However, researchers for the first time have calculated cumulative success rates for women undergoing several treatment cycles. Among nearly 250,000 U.S. women treated with ART in 2004-2009, 57 percent achieved a live birth, they reported. In addition, 30 percent of all ART cycles were successful, they found.

"This study shows that if you keep at it...your chances of becoming pregnant continue to rise with continuing treatment," said lead researcher Barbara Luke, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine in Lansing. "The takeaway message from this is you may need to look at infertility treatment over a course of cycles."

Luke noted that about 25 percent of women drop out after their first cycle for a variety of reasons that may include cost (about $7,000 to $15,000 out-of-pocket per treatment cycle) and stress. Many insurance plans will only cover a couple of cycles; Luke and her co-authors said they hoped their finding might encourage insurance companies to reconsider those limits.

Success depends on many factors, most importantly a woman's age and the quality of her embryos, which are related, Luke said. "As we age, our eggs age, and the quality of the embryo may be less. That's why using a donor egg, from a younger woman, greatly improves the live birth rate among older women."

Donor eggs give women "a 60 to 80 percent chance of live birth, regardless of your age," Luke and her colleagues reported in Wednesday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Choosing the donor egg route represents "a very personal decision," Luke suggested. Although it may seem cold to advise women in their 40s that their best chances of becoming pregnant lie with the eggs of younger women, she said they might want to think about egg donations "within families," with a younger sister donating to an older sister.

Luke and her co-authors found that for women under age 31 undergoing ART, the live birth rate is 42 percent for the first cycle; 57 to 62 percent for a second cycle; 63 to 75 percent by a third cycle and 66 to 83 percent in the fourth cycle. Among women 43 and over, the chances of a live birth with their own eggs are about four percent for the first cycle; six to eight percent for the second; seven to 11 percent for the third; and seven to 15 percent for a fourth cycle.

For comparison, Luke and her co-authors noted that among the general population, the odds of a couple conceiving spontaneously are 45 percent at one month, 65 percent at six months, and 85 percent at 12 months.

"This study provides patients with important and encouraging information," said Dr. Glenn Schattman, president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which compiled the patient data that Luke and her colleagues analyzed. "While tracking outcomes by cycle started or single embryo transfer is a valuable method for assessing quality, having cumulative data linked to individual patients better estimates the prospect for success when they start a treatment cycle."

"Having the data to demonstrate that medically assisted conception can nearly match rates of natural conception is an important milestone," said Dolores J. Lamb, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents more than 8,000 health professionals focused on reproductive biology.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man's Sperm Still Potent After 20 Years

File photo. Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Who knew that something frozen back in the 1980s would produce so much joy two decades later?

In 1987, Richard Pott was 21 and suffering from testicular cancer. Doctors at the time recommended that he freeze his sperm in the event he wanted to have children down the road.

That road popped up not long ago when Pott and his wife, Rebecca, tried to conceive a second child. When the usual methods failed, Mrs. Pott said she and her husband turned to his ''rainy day sperm'' from 1987.  Through in vitro fertilization, three embryos were made and frozen before doctors transferred them to the womb.

This "double freezing" finally led to Vivienne Pott, now 13 months. One day, she can say she was the product of the oldest sperm ever to create a child in Britain.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man, 36, Claims Ex-Girlfriend Stole Sperm to Impregnate Herself

Getty Images(LONG ISLAND, N.Y.) -- A father of 4-year-old twins is claiming his ex-girlfriend stole his sperm and impregnated herself at a fertility clinic and is now suing for full custody of his sons.

Joseph Pressil, who currently lives in Long Island, N.Y., had moved to Houston, Texas to be with his ex, and even bought a house there. Now, he says, he has no plans to go back.

"This was so shocking to me," Joseph Pressil told ABC News. "I met her in Miami, Fla., in May 2006. I remember that day," said Pressil, 36. "That was the beginning of the end."

The couple broke up at the end of November that same year and just three months later she told him she was pregnant. They eventually proved paternity with a DNA test, and Pressil, a telecommunications manager, began paying more than $800 a month in child support.

Then, this February, he discovered a receipt in his mailbox for sperm cryopreservation.

Confused, he called the company that had sent him the paperwork, Omni-Med Laboratory. They referred him to the Advanced Fertility Center of Texas where a manager asked him to sign a medical release form.

He told ABC News that he never heard back, so he decided to pay a visit in person. According to the lawsuit, the manager said the clinic assumed he and his ex were married when they performed the successful in vitro fertilization procedure that resulted in the birth of his twins. The clinic refused to share anything more because of the HIPPA privacy rule.

Pressil confronted his ex, who according to him said, 'Oh you're not stupid. I thought you knew.'

Now, he says, her behavior during sex makes more sense.

"At the time she was giving me these condoms, and she said because of her fibroid these condoms were not lubricated, and would not affect the fibroid enlargement," he explained. "Every time she would give me these condoms after the sex she would leave the room. She'd come back, give me something to drink. We always had sex in the morning and she'd say she had to go do something. She would leave about 10 or 15 minutes afterward."

According to the Mayo Clinic website, sperm ejaculated outside of the body can survive, at most, for a few hours.

Pressil says he never discussed IVF with his former girlfriend and they had never intended to have children.

Under Texas' Uniform Parentage Act, an unmarried man must consent to the use of sperm for assisted reproduction, and that consent "must be in record signed by the man and the unmarried woman and kept by a licensed physician."

The clinic claims to have that document, but Pressil told ABC News his signature was forged and "doesn't match."

That's why Pressil's lawyer, Jason Gibson, says this is a case of theft.

He currently has joint custody of the children, and plans to seek full custody "because of all her scandalous ways."

In the lawsuit he's asking for a jury to determine how he ought to be compensated for child support and mental anguish.

The entire incident is simply "embarrassing" he said. "How do you let someone do that without knowing?"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Grieving Taconic Mother Ready to Deliver New Baby PARK, N.Y.) -- Jackie Hance, who lost all three of her daughters in a horrific wrong-way crash on the Taconic Parkway in 2009, was seen last week smiling outside her Floral Park, N.Y., home just two weeks before she is to deliver a new baby.

Though she did not talk to reporters, Hance’s neighbors told the New York Post, “We’re all there for Jackie right now.”

“It’s such a special time,” said one. “We just want this to turn out OK. She’s been through so much. The whole family has. They deserve some joy.”

Hance, 40, announced in a story that appeared last summer in the magazine Ladies Home Journal that she was pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

Hance’s daughters — Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Katie, 5 — were returning from an upstate camping trip with their aunt, Diane Schuler, and Schuler’s two young children when a drunk Schuler sped the wrong way at 70 mph for two miles along the Taconic Parkway before colliding with an SUV, killing eight people.
Toxicology reports later revealed that Schuler, 36, had a blood alcohol level of .19 — the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka — and a high level of THC from smoking marijuana.

Just minutes before the deadly crash, Hance’s daughter, Emma, had called her mother to say, “Something’s wrong with Aunt Diane.”  That was the title of a documentary on the accident that aired several months ago on HBO.

Hance did not participate in the film, but told Ladies Home Journal that her decision to have another child came to her in a dream.

“Parenting is not something you can ever let go of, even if your children are gone,” Hance wrote.
She said that friends persuaded her to have another child as a way of coping with the “torture” that she has felt since her girls died, unable even to cook because it reminds her of her daughters’ excitement at mealtime.

Eight people in all were killed in the crash: Guy Bastardi, 43, his father Michael Bastardi, 81, and a family friend, Daniel Longo, 72, as well as the three Hance girls, Schuler and her 2-year-old daughter Erin. The only survivor was Schuler’s son Bryan, then 5, who now lives with an ocular nerve impairment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Selective Reduction: Couples Opting to Reduce Twins to Single Births

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Given the high cost and failure rate of fertility treatments, some couples try to increase their chances of getting pregnant by using multiple embryos during in vitro fertilization and end up facing an unexpected challenge of twins, triplets, or higher multiples -- a challenge some feel they cannot handle, emotionally or financially.

There is a way out of this challenge, but it is one that is seldom discussed among mommies-to-be: selective reduction.

In cases of high multiple pregnancies, doctors will often recommend selective reduction for purely medical reasons.  Early in the pregnancy, one or more of the fetuses are aborted from within the womb to increase the likelihood that the remaining babies (and the mother) will survive and thrive.

There are numerous health concerns to both mother and infants associated with carrying multiples.  Thus for decades obstetricians have offered the option of reducing down to twins, which tend to have safer outcomes.  This procedure can only be done with fraternal twins, as identical twins share a placenta and cannot easily be separated.

In the past years, however, some obstetricians and their patients have turned to selective reductions even in the case of twins -- not necessarily for medical reasons, but because the couple does not feel emotionally and/or financially prepared to have two babies when they had planned to have just one.

Fertility message boards such as are filled with parents-to-be discussing the moral dilemma of reducing to singletons, with many couples admitting that they reduced to one infant simply because they only wanted one.

New York City obstetrician and leading expert in selective reduction, Dr. Mark Evans, says that reductions from twins to a single fetus make up about 10 percent of the reductions he performs in his office, and that number is slowly increasing.

Evans wrote the recommendations on selective reductions 25 years ago, but at the time, he advocated for reductions only down to twins, barring extenuating circumstances.

"The rationale was that we knew that we could take care of twins and have good outcomes, and we were generally seeing couples with no kids.  So parents often wanted two or more kids ultimately anyway," says Evans.

But in 2004, Evans published a paper that overturned his past recommendations, arguing instead for the safety of reducing to singletons, even if the original pregnancy was only twins.

"The data forced me to change my opinion.  We now know that twins are not twice the risk of singletons, they are more like four times the risk.  For instance, there is a 1 in 700 chance of cerebral palsy with a single birth, but 1 in 100 with twins.  If you define success of a pregnancy as a healthy baby and a healthy mother, it's safer to reduce to singleton.  Women should be aware that this is a possibility," he says.

Though Evans argues that reducing twins is medically justifiable, this procedure remains highly contentious, especially considering that some couples admittedly choose to undergo reductions for personal, not medical reasons.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Taller Women More Likely to Have Twins after In Vitro?

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(AMSTERDAM) -- Multiple births after in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not uncommon, but a new study released on Monday suggests that if two embryos are implanted in a woman's uterus, taller recipients are more likely to have twins than their shorter counterparts.

Researchers at Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre in Amsterdam reviewed data from over 2,300 Dutch women who underwent a double embryo transfer during their first IVF treatment. They found that women measuring over five feet eight-and-a-half inches in height were almost three times more likely to give birth to twins than shorter women.

The authors of the study, however, could not offer any explanation to their findings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers Identify '15' as Magic Number for In Vitro Fertilization

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Women having difficulty conceiving often turn to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to get pregnant.  But many times, it takes them several tries before they can get an implanted, fertilized egg to stick.

Researchers at King’s College London, however, have calculated that the ideal number of eggs that should be obtained at the start of the process in order to yield a live birth is 15.

The finding, published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction, was determined after the study's authors analyzed over 400,000 IVF cycles performed in the U.K. from 1991 to 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Vitro Fertilization Gives Couple Two Sets of Identical Twins

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- "Babies, babies, babies."  That's how Miranda and Josh Crawford now describe a typical day after their two sets of identical twins -- quadruplets in all -- joined their two-year-old sister in February.

After trying to get pregnant for more than a year, Miranda, 34, and Josh, 28, of Charlotte, North Carolina, turned to artificial insemination, and then in vitro fertilization, to have their first daughter.  Doctors implanted two embryos into Miranda's uterus, and one survived.  On March 17, 2009, Miranda gave birth to baby Joslyn.

But Miranda, 34, and Josh, 28, both registered nurses, hoped to eventually expand their family over time to three or four children.

A year later, the couple sought out in vitro fertilization for a second time.  Again, doctors transferred two embryos into Miranda's uterus, and, just six weeks into the pregnancy, doctors told the couple that they would be having twins.

But the ultrasound was fuzzy, and both the doctor and Miranda wanted to confirm how many babies were growing in her belly.  She returned to the hospital four days later.  This time, the ultrasound was clear -- there were four hearts beating on the screen, not two.

"I was shocked, the doctor was shocked," Miranda said.  "Never had that happened in his entire career."

Typically one or two embryos are inserted into a woman's uterus during one round of IVF.  Even then, the patient typically has a 60 percent chance of getting pregnant at all.  But both embryos had split in Miranda's uterus to create two sets of identical twins.

"For a woman who is less than 35 years old, it is recommended that one or two embryos be transferred into the uterus during a fresh IVF cycle," said Dr. Jani Jensen, a physician in the department of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mayo Clinic.  "In this case, it appears that the guidelines were correctly followed, but that lightning struck twice."

"This is certainly an unusual outcome," Jensen said.  "I've never seen it happen quite like this."

Jensen said she has rarely seen embryos split, but doctors estimate that it can happen in a little more than one percent of IVF cycles, and slightly more if the embryos are transferred as blastocysts, or embryos that have developed longer outside the body.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: PCBs May Affect In Vitro Fertilization

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- A new study suggests polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may affect in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to HealthDay.

Congress banned PCBs in 1979, although the toxic chemicals can still be found in the United States, particularly in seafood and dairy. Environmental Health Perspectives published a report by the University of Michigan School of Public Health in their Feb. 24 issue, which indicated that PCBs could be the cause of a significantly lower IVF birth rate.

765 women were involved in the study. Scientists analyzed blood samples for PCBs, and found that the 530 cases who lost their babies, either by implantation failure or miscarriage, tended to have higher a PCB content.

The analysts said the findings do not necessarily apply to all infertility problems.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Labor of Love: Woman Carries Her Daughter's Baby

File Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) - A mother's love takes many forms. For Kristine Casey, 61, it meant giving the gift of motherhood to her infertile daughter by carrying and giving birth to her own grandson.

With the help of hormone supplementation, Casey, who had gone through menopause 10 years earlier, became pregnant during her second round of in vitro fertilization, the Chicago Tribune reported.

She carried full term and gave birth via Cesarean section to Finnean, her first grandchild, last week at Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago. Although Casey's daughter, Sara Connell, 35, had been unable to carry a pregnancy to term, her egg and her husband Bill's sperm were used in the procedure, making the couple Finnean's biological parents.

"The idea of having a family member being open to doing this for us was so extraordinary for us," Sara Connell told the Tribune.

In the world of surrogate parenting, the Connell's scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. The first case of such an arrangement dates back to 1987 when a South African woman gave birth to her triplet grandchildren. More recently, ABC News' Good Morning America spoke with 56-year-old Jaci Dalenberg of Wooster, Ohio, who gave birth to triplet girls that she carried for daughter Kim Coseno in 2008.

Casey, who is retired, told the Tribune that giving birth to her own three daughters were three of the happiest days in her life and she believed that serving as a surrogate to her daughter was a spiritual calling. She had kidney complications after the birth that were quickly resolved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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